Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hard Work, Late Nights And Dirty Laundry: An Interview with Jodi Meadows

I'd like to welcome Jodi Meadows to the blog today! I recently reviewed her book Incarnate and you can find that here.

1) Why do you write for young adults?

Because young adults are awesome. There's so much going on in their lives, they're experiencing so many things for the first time. Firsts are exciting to write about.Also, because I really love YA books.

2) Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a writer.

I've always wanted to be a writer. My sister and I made up lots of stories when we were young, but it wasn't until I was in seventh grade when I realized that writing was something people did. There was actually a job that involved making up stories!When I realized that was an option -- that anyone could be a writer if they wanted -- I decided I would.

Jodi's Ferrets
3) What was the inspiration for Incarnate?

First, I filled up a room with keyboards. Just keyboards, of course. The wires all went into computers in another room.
Then I released the ferrets.I'm not sure how they came up with Incarnate, but somewhere in the 8,000,000 pages of "jdfskjklgjfklesjgvcxnfghjkguioehfdnvv gk jskafskdljfads 1~~!!! !fdsfsda" I found a gem.That answer may be a lie.

4) Tell us about your process.

My process does not actually involve ferrets. Ideas arrive in my brain. I write them down in a "new ideas" document. And if the ideas don't leave after that . . . usually they start growing. Characters introduce themselves. I somehow end up tethered to my keyboard for months. At some point, a first draft emerges. It needs lot of work. I spend more months revising.

Mostly, my process involves a lot of hard work, late nights, and dirty laundry piling up.

5) What does a typical writing day look like?

Generally, it looks like me sitting in my desk chair, a ferret trying to balance on my head, and a cat sitting on my lap or keyboard, depending on the weather.

I write about 8 - 10 hours a day. It's a full-time job for me. I know how lucky I am, and there's nothing I'd rather be doing, but it is work and I definitely put the hours in.

6) Where is your favorite place to write?

I'm on a desktop computer, so I write only in the one place: my ferret room. I'm not sure I'd do well trying to write anywhere else, actually. I like complete silence while I'm writing.

7) What did or do you find most challenging in creating the story and getting it published? What do you wish you would have known?

I was actually a pretty educated querier. When I was ready to start looking for an agent, I already had a few friends who were published. I had the benefit of their experiences, so there wasn't much that came as a surprise.

But I think a lot of new authors are surprised by how much work writing is. Lots of people imagine writing all day and having everything else magically happen around them, but it doesn't work like that. Revisions have to be done (by one's deadline), emails have to be answered, promotion has to get out there. It's not all glamorous.

8) What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Oh, that's really hard to say. I've received a lot of excellent writing advice! But one of the most widely useful pieces I like to send back out to the world: only write the good parts. If what you're writing is boring to you, it's going to be boring to the reader. They can tell whether you're into what you're writing.

9) Are you working on a new project? Can you tell us about it?

Yes, I am! But no, I can't. It hasn't been sold yet, and while I hope it does sell, I can't make promises. And I hate to get anyone excited about something I can't promise will make it out there.

10) What advice would you give others that write for children?

Never, ever write down to them, or try to force a moral into the story. The second they feel patronized, they're out.

11) What are a couple of your all time favorite YA books?

Oh man, this is HARD. All time favorites? *pulls hair* Okay.

Anything by Robin McKinley. HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones (which so far is the only thing I've read of hers, but I have a feeling *anything* of hers would be on this list). IF I STAY by Gayle Forman. THE GIVER by Lois Lowry. PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow. And . . . well, okay.

Here's my "books I love beyond reason" shelf on Goodreads. Not all of them are YA, but most are.

12) It sounds like you never questioned whether or not you could be a writer...Were you always that confident?

Well, for a long time, I didn't realize how hard it was to get published. I assumed one simply wrote a book, and then someone published it. Once I did learn how difficult it was . . . I thought it was mostly a matter of time. I would query until someone said yes. I would write books until someone published one. (And then I'd write more.)

There was a while in there when I was a *good* writer but not good *enough* -- and that was really hard. So while I never doubted I could be a writer -- anyone who picks up a pen or keyboard and starts writing is a writer -- I did, for a while, doubt that I would ever be published. Most days, I'm still surprised that it happened. Because even though I can go to my local bookstore and see my book for sale, the whole thing still seems so surreal and like a goal I will always be shooting for.

New Books: 
Thanks so much Jodi. It was great to get to know you a little better! I can't wait to get my hands on the next book and you can bet I'll be reviewing it.

Have any of you read Incarnate? What did you think of the premise? 

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Jodi & Pam. I loved hearing about Jodi's writing process and her advice to writers was something I've never heard before.

    I haven't read Jodi's book yet but have heard great things about it. I definitely want to read it.


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